Author Beware of Scams !!!

10 Mar



The reason I started initially, was to warn authors of traps they can fall in, after a friend of mine has been deceived by a so-called vanity publisher. Well, she was very naive and did not seek the help of a lawyer, specialized in contract law, nor the advice of her well-meaning author friends or her writer’s group. After having her manuscript sent out to several dozens of publishers and receiving only rejections, she was so eager to get published, that she did not want to hear any warnings and signed her rights away for 70 years after her death! Not only this, she also paid more than $6.000 to have her print book published. Until now (3 years past the initial launch) the vanity “publisher” failed to format it into an e-book, despite his many promises.

Vanity Publishing
For those who do not know what a “vanity publisher” is: These companies take on almost every book authors pitch to them, without concerns if the book is marketable, they charge authors outrageous amounts for editing, book cover and printing or e-book formatting.  Many of these companies are printers who get their machines running this way. Others are just agents for author services, who receive healthy commissions from their sub contractors.

“Vanity publishers” don’t make money selling a book, they only make money producing it!

Now it seems that reputable, traditional publishers step into the foot prints of these “vanity publishers” and go into the business of deceiving authors.  Many jumped on the bandwagon of the success of e-books and created imprints for digital books, such as “Hydra”, “Flirt” or “Alibi”an imprint of Random House, or “Blackfriars” an imprint of Little&Brown in the UK.

They ask writers for a life-of-copyright contract that includes both, primary and subsidiary rights! (See the story of my friend above).  No advance. Only the NET proceeds (means, after all costs of the “vanity publisher” is deducted) will be split between both sides. Deductions for e-books include, among others: the overhead and administrative costs of the “publisher”, costs for editing, cover art, formatting plus a publicity fee of 10% etc. – so the author pays for all these in the end.

Publishing – but not under these conditions!
And if there is a print version, printing and binding costs,” plus 6% of GROSS sales revenue (NOT the NET sales!) to cover freight and warehousing costs.  One has to do the math, calculate all this and realize that it makes absolutely no sense to sign up such an unfavorable contract. There is only one who makes money with the authors work: The “vanity publisher”.
Yes, the authors don’t have to pay upfront costs, on the other hand they don’t know what they will earn per book, while the publisher is assured that their expenses will be paid for as soon as the book sells.

See what John Scalzi wrote in an open letter to Random House on his blog:

“Dear Random House: It’s clear you’re targeting new, un-agented authors here because no agent who is not manifestly incompetent would allow his or her client to sign such a terrible contract. But here’s the thing: New authors don’t actually need you to sell their work online. They can do it themselves — and are, and some of them are doing quite well at it. You are working under the assumption that these newer authors are so eager to be with a “real” publisher that they will suddenly forget that publishers are no longer a bottleneck to being published, or that you are offering nothing they can’t do themselves (or have done for them) and offering them nothing for the service — indeed your business model appears predicated on sucking as much as possible from them in fees and charges while offering as little as possible in way of compensation. Hydra is a vanity publisher, in sum.
Do you genuinely believe these new authors are that stupid? And if so, do you genuinely want an entire imprint of your publishing empire populated by such people?”

We will cover more examples of unfavorable ways of publishing in the next days – and can only warn you: Author beware, beware, and beware even more.  What’s the benefit of Google?  You can type in the name of a company and the words  “complaint” or “complaints” and see what comes up. Read these posts carefully!

Find out more about this topic in our former blogs, and spread the word, re-blog the articles, so that other writers can learn about the publishing industry and make informed decisions:

First Penguin – now Simon & Schuster Wants Your Money

Victims of Vanity Publishers

Comparison of Vanity Presses

10 Signs, Showing You Vanity Publishing TRAPS




If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 700 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter,, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing 111Publishing @ Google+

Don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks


Hyper Smash



Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Marketing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

8 responses to “Author Beware of Scams !!!

  1. Patrick Jones

    March 10, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Reblogged this on The Linden Chronicles and commented:
    Excellent article from Doris-Maria Heilmann with 111Publishing. The author is the victim of a lot of parasites in the industry, and needs to pay close attention to every avenue. They prey on the aspirations of others. Great post.

  2. Yvonne Hertzberger

    March 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Only one word of advice when seeking to publish. Make ‘Preditors and Editors’ your friend. Check all options out there to get the straight dope.

  3. Steve

    March 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Imagineer-ing and commented:
    A blog post that every writer really needs to read!

  4. Steve

    March 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Had to reblog this excellent post! Thanks!

  5. Pat Fitzhugh

    March 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Self-published authors are preyed upon more than any other group, even aspiring models and songwriters. Savvybookwriters is a great idea, one that I’d been pondering myself LOL. Thanks for saving me the trouble! Keep fighting the good fight!

  6. Pat Fitzhugh

    March 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Also, I am reblogging this.

  7. Pat Fitzhugh

    March 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Reblogged this on Pat Fitzhugh and commented:
    Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about literary scams and other “opportunities” practiced against writers. I was actually pondering the idea of starting a blog about it; that is, until I found savvybookwriters! Here’s their take on the Random House problem…

  8. DebbyGies

    March 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for caring and sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: